LODA - Country singer/songwriter Drew Parker will perform during a free dance at the Loda Good Ole Days summer festival on July 24.
This year’s schedule of events at the site two blocks west of Meats Plus and Weber Fertilizer on Jefferson Street includes Family Night on July 23. That evening there is also a Little Mr. and Miss Pageant and Junior Mr. and Junior Miss Pageant at 6 p.m. with registration at 5:30 p.m. A talent show and music by DJ Myles will follow the pageant.
July 24 events start with a parade at 10 a.m. with lineup at the old school at 9 a.m. Mini Weed Wacker Pulls will start at noon at Coffee’s volleyball site, 208 1/2 W. Washington St. B&D’s Cornhole Boards and Bags tournament starts at 1 p.m. with registration at noon. Fireworks will begin at dusk, followed by the free dance at which Drew Parker will perform.
Originally from the small unincorporated town of Stewart, Georgia, Parker started singing as a child in front of small church audiences. At 14 he taught himself guitar from listening to idols like Daryle Singletary, Eric Church, Alan Jackson and Tim McGraw. Parker moved to Nashville in 2015 and signed a publishing deal in 2017. Parker has opened for Alabama, Dwight Yoakam and toured with Luke Combs on his “Don’t Tempt Me with a Good Time” tour in 2018 and was a co-writer on Combs’ debut platinum record, “This One’s for You.”
In an email interview with the Ford County Record, Parker talked about what led him down the path toward releasing his debut album in 2020.
“The reason I wanted to pursue a career in country music is because I didn’t want to wake up 30 years from now and question myself why I didn’t chase a career in country music,” Parker said. “I love country music and everything about it and I always wanted to be a part of it.”
Parker said he has been surprised by how close the country music family in Nashville is. “Everyone roots for everyone else to have success,” he said.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Jake Owens hit No. 1 with “Homemade,” which Parker co-wrote, and Parker had another milestone. “I celebrated in the hospital welcoming my new baby girl into the world and becoming a dad for the first time,” he said. “It was the biggest roller coaster of emotion. And it was very exciting to watch dreams and goals come to life in a crazy time.”
Also during that time, Parker was able to add to his song catalogue by writing a lot more songs.
Parker’s song “When You’re Gone” pays homage to 1980s and 1990s country musicians like Keith Whitley and Billy Ray Cyrus. “That era of country music is what I grew up listening to and it had the biggest influence on my sound and career,” Parker said.
Another of Parker’s songs, “The Runway,” started out as simply a love song when he first wrote it. “Now it has taken on a whole new meaning since the moment I found out my wife was pregnant and I realized I wrote that song as a love letter to my little girl telling her to chase her dreams and I would always be there for her,” he said.
While Parker doesn’t think being a father has changed his songwriting dramatically, he said it has had some effect. “I definitely think my song ideas have expanded and I can now write songs about being a dad and what it’s like having a little girl,” he said.
Being back on the road now, Parker is most enjoying getting to meet all his new fans who found his music during the pandemic “and now getting to hear them sing the words to my songs,” he said.
Parker has new songs that he has written that he hopes to record soon. “And we have new shows lined up in the near future,” he added.
Also featured at the dance will be Clinton-based The NATU Band with a mix of country, classic rock and top 40 hits. Beer will be available for purchase, but no outside beverages will be allowed in at the dance. There will also be food vendors.
On July 25 the 10th annual Truck and Tractor Pull starts at noon with registration from 8 to 11:30 a.m. Beer will be available for purchase onsite, and there will again be food vendors.